Udayavni Special

Lingayat remains loyal to BJP in the polls

Team Udayavani, May 16, 2018, 12:29 PM IST

Bengaluru: The decision of the Karnataka Cabinet, under the Siddaramaiah government, to provide religious minority status to Lingayats was viewed by many as a ploy to garner more votes for the Congress in the Karnataka Assembly Elections. But the decision seems to have backfired for the Congress as the BJP ended up sweeping the Bombay Karnataka and Central Karnataka regions, dominated by the Lingayats. The community remained loyal to the BJP in spite of the alleged vote bank politics played by the Congress.

In Bombay Karnataka, the BJP won 30 out of 50 seats, while the Congress won 17 seats. In the 2013 elections, the Congress had held 31 seats in the region. In Central Karnataka, the BJP won 15 out of 36 seats, whereas the Congress won 13, still lower than the 19 seats they won in 2013. In Hyderabad Karnataka, the BJP increased from winning 10 seats in 2013 to winning 15 seats in 2018. But, the Congress managed to get a lead in Hyderabad Karnataka by winning 21 out of 40 seats.

An important point in this matter is that, because the State Cabinet recommended religious minority tag to the Lingayats and not for Lingayat-Veerashaiva, as was demanded, there was discontent among the seers of the Veerashaiva community. The Congress was also not particularly satisfied with the impact of the decision on the State, but was nevertheless expecting a 5% swing in the vote share.

Instead, three of the four prominent Lingayat Ministers in the Siddaramaiah Cabinet who spearheaded the movement, lost in the polls. Vinay Kulkarni, Basavaraj Rayaraddi and Sharan Prakash Patil lost badly in their respective constituencies, though they were at the forefront of the Lingayat movement. In contrast, M.B. Patil won the polls despite the attempts by the Veerashaiva seers to defeat him.

Minister S.S. Mallikarjun lost the election, while his father, the President of the All India Veerashaiva Mahasabha Shamanr Shivashankarappa won. General Secretary of the Mahasabha Eshwar Khandre, had sided with the Veerashaiva seers and had disagreed with the Cabinet decision, won the election. The Congress only dug up its own grave with the decision as the move was counter attacked by the Veerashaiva seers as well as the BJP and the RSS.

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